The social life in the marina continues to be
hectic. The lamb roast was swiftly followed by the Halloween party – fancy dress
of course. The rule was that each boat was only allowed to spend 5€ on costumes
– everything else had to be made from stuff already on board. Apart from the odd
pirate appearance here and there, the last fancy dress party that we went to was
New Year 2006/2007 at the Boat Club in Aber’. That time David strutted his stuff
as Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror
Show, accompanied by Princess Bethany and Action Man Bryn; I escaped lightly
as Rudolph in a set of furry antlers, a brown cardigan and a red lipstick nose
(you can see that I throw my heart and soul into dressing up…). This time
David’s fishnets and blue sparkly false eyelashes got a second airing, Beth and
Bryn went as vampire bats (blowing the boat budget on teeth and face paint). As
I wasn’t allowed to recycle my antlers, I went as a reluctant skeleton with a
mask made out of a paper plate (which was actually quite good, even if I say so
myself). Beth and Bryn had a great time in the run up to the party helping Garry
(WILD OATS) decorate the bar with cats, witches, ghosts and spiders, and making
ship’s rats to infest the tables.
The ship’s rat production line.
Cats and witches for Halloween.
The CAPE infestation of vampire bats.
Captain Frankenfurter with one of his admirers and
a reluctant skeleton.
Ship’s rats tucking into Sardinian
Witches, Black Widow Spiders and Vampire Bats
The leaky limoncella
Steven and Anne (WANDERING DRAGON) came across to
CAPE for a lentil curry. We finished off the
evening with bottle of unlabelled, home-made limoncello from the local Sunday
street market. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the bottle we had –
there must have been a hole in it, ‘cos it all disappeared.
The leaky limoncello bottle.
Snails, artichokes and
On the food front, we explored the city a little
further to find the main produce market. Snails, globe artichokes and fennel are
most definitely in season, and you can get all the fresh herbs that you want as
long as you want basil or parsley. We have had our fennel in cheese sauce
(Italian style of course – ‘Finocckio in Besciamella al Formaggi’), in coleslaw
and roasted. I have to say that roasted is my favourite.
The snail season is upon us.
How do you like your cheese – soft, mild and
squidgy or strong, pongy and firm?
Fennel, basil and artichokes in
Fish, fish and more fish!
One sortie into the city took us around the
commercial part of the docks, past the fishing boats and tugs. The children and
I were treated to a lesson in tug identification, learning how to tell what a
tug is used for by the position of its cushioning and winches. From what I could
gather (and I admit this might be a girly oversimplification), there appear to
be ‘pushing’ tugs, ‘pulling’ tugs, general purpose ‘pull-me-push-you’ tugs and
The front end of a ‘push-me-pull-you’ tug – note
the acres of black rubber cushioning around her nose that is used to nudge the
QE II’s bottom around gently (and probably leaving tell-tale black
It just so happens that the QE II has just left
Cagliari, and she is now on her last cruise before retiring to become a floating
hotel in Dubai.
“When I grow up I want to be a floating
A fire-fighting tug.
Don’t mess with me – I’m an
We took the bus to the highest hill in the city
(the medieval Castello area) to indulge my passion for body parts (don’t mess
with me – I’m an anatomist) with a look around the University of Cagliari’s wax anatomical models by
Clemente Susini. Wax models such as these were important in the past for
teaching anatomy to medical students, but are also intricate and beautiful works
of art. The titles – such as Muscles of
the hip as seen from the back – just don’t do these sculptures justice. I
haven’t been as excited about an exhibition since David treated me to a trip to
Professor Gunther von Hagens’ Body
Worlds in London a few years ago!
Muscles of the hip as seen from the
Armed forces and
From the top of the city we made our way
down steep, narrow alleys, to the Lion’s Gate, which provides stunning views
over the city and surrounding sea.
Looking down from the Castello area across the
rest of the city to the marina in one direction…
…and across the harbour and salt pans to the
mountains in the other.
The Lion’s Gate – an impressive gap in the old
The Lion’s Gate has a large exhibition space off
to one side, which just happened to be displaying a celebration of 90 years of
the army regiment in Cagliari. Old uniforms, guns, bullets, field
hospital equipment, and model boats and planes kept us occupied for another hour
Some of the architecture around the city is
impressive, although a lot of it is crumbling when you get up
The Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Bonaria
keeps an eye on the boats in the marina.
Buildings along the waterfront.
The City Hall.
When we aren’t exploring or
However, not even the CAPE crew can party and
explore all the time, and most of our time is taken up with the usual mundane
stuff of life – work, boat jobs, school, shopping, cooking and cleaning. We are
quite fair and the chores are divided evenly. I work, do a bit of school and add
jobs to the list of things to do. David does jobs on the list and the bulk of
the schooling. We both cook, with the children helping. The children do school,
the washing up and organize the laundry. We all go shopping, mess the boat up
and then tidy it up again (when I have a temper tantrum about the state of it).
We all read – a lot, play games, and watch DVDs now and then. The children
scoot, play LEGO, Nintendo DS games, Littlest Pet Shops, Bratz, and draw and
paint – and read a bit more.
We took the marina pool car out on a mission to
find Lidl for a tin-and-bottle shop. It was like a comedy of errors as we sailed
past every turning we needed. We saw signposts for the place – but always on the
other carriageway. We finally ended up on the motorway on the way to Oristano,
60 odd miles away. We did, finally, find Lidl and you will be pleased to know
that it was just the same as usual.
Oh, and by the way, Beth and I have had our hair
cut – short.
CAPE has a nose
As we are bows-to, getting on and off the boat
involves limboing past the genoa self-furling gear and clambering over the
stainless steel of the pulpit before teetering down the passarelle – which is
fine if you aren’t carrying anything, or wearing slip-on shoes. I have already
lost one shoe in the marina in the dark while getting on and off (this was, of
course, David’s fault). This arrangement wasn’t really terribly practical, and,
as we are always going to have to go bows-to as the stern is full of the Aries
self-steering and the DuoGen, we sorted out a nose job for CAPE. Surgery to remove the pointy end of her stainless
steel pulpit was swift and relatively painless, and you really can’t see any
Half-way through the operation; the middle rail
has been removed, but the top rail and lights are still
The ‘after’ shot. Note the smooth curves of
CAPE’s new nose – stopping short of the genoa
furling gear so that we can step through not clamber over the
Boat school continues with practical problem
solving and maths, writing up journals electronically, story planning and
writing, lots of IT on the new laptop, more on the bird project, and branching
out into the realms of Noah’s Ark (and all things animal and rainbow). Beth and
Bryn went across to WANDERING DRAGON for Sunday school – an introduction to
Excel, the film Evan Almighty (in
line with the Ark theme), and a crash course in fudge making. They are currently
word processing the menu for the one-night opening of the WANDERING DRAGON Pizza
The Stonking Great
Thunderstorms are quite a feature of our weather
at the moment, and we get one every few days. They range from the odd flash and
rumble in the distance, to black thundery squalls that rush in (50 knots is the
most wind we’ve had so far), drop a deluge of rain on us but leave us in bright
sunshine half an hour later.
We had one Stonking Great Thunderstorm that
started at 04:00 and went on until about 10:00, dropping 4 inches of rain on us
in that time. We escaped lightly in the marina (we only got winds of 35 knots),
but parts of the city were more badly hit – a tornado blew a bus into the dock
near the ferry port and capsized a yacht, and four people were killed in
mudslides. The high volume of rain diluted the salt water in the salt pans
behind the city and killed hundreds of fish – most of which then found their way
down to the harbour and bobbed around in the marina, bloated and smelly, for a
couple of days before being picked off by the seagulls, or sinking.
We get some impressive sunsets too – perfect for
adding to my extensive collection of photos of lighthouses and sunsets. In the
absence of any new lighthouses to shoot while we are marina bound, I have
extended my scope to include moon shots. Here, for your delight and enjoyment
are a couple of recent additions to my portfolio…
Sunset over Cagliari harbour (Number 1) (you have been
warned – there will be more!).
Moon rise over the marina (which would have been
quite good if there hadn’t been a load of boats in the